Safe outcome to twin town hostage crisis

Sepp Misslbeck, Deputy Mayor of Ingolstadt with Councillor Alex Rowley, leader of the administration at Fife Council

Sepp Misslbeck, Deputy Mayor of Ingolstadt with Councillor Alex Rowley, leader of the administration at Fife Council

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Relief has been expressed at the safe outcome of a hostage crisis in Kirkcaldy’s twin town of Ingolstadt on Monday.

Robert Main, chairman of the Kirkcaldy Ingolstadt Association told the Press he was “very relieved” when he heard that three members of staff at the Bavarian town’s council, including Sepp Misslbeck, the deputy mayor, who is a regular visitor to Kirkcaldy and who played a major part in the town twinning’s 50th anniversary celebrations last year, had escaped unhurt.

The three were taken hostage at the old town hall by a man with a gun, at 9 a.m. local time on Monday.

Police cordoned off the building as the siege began, and a planned visit to the town by German Chancellor Angela Merkel had to be cancelled.

Herr Misslbeck was released five hours into the siege by the man, and the other two hostages escaped unharmed when a police commando unit stormed the building shortly before 6 p.m. The man responsible, who had mental health problems and who had been banned from the building after stalking a female member of staff, who was one of those taken hostage, was shot in the operation, but was not believed to be seriously hurt.

Mrs Merkel had planned to hold an election rally with the Bavarian Prime Minister Horst Seehofer in the town on Monday, but it was cancelled.

Speaking to the Press on Wednesday, Mr Main, who has chaired the Kirkcaldy Ingolstadt Association for the past 10 years, said he had been alarmed when he heard of the situation.

“We are pleased that everything has turned out safely for the deputy mayor and the others involved. Sepp was across in Kirkcaldy for the 50th anniversary celebrations and has been a regular visitor over the past five years and we have visited Ingolstadt too, so I know him very well. I was just relieved when I heard that everyone had come out of it safely.”